Gaia star data with D3 – part 2 – prettier, faster

Welcome back! (if that statement isn’t appropriate you’ll want to check out part 1 first: Gaia star data with D3 – part 1). We are going to make everything look much better, and then do a couple of optimizations.

Let’s make the sky look more natural, i.e. Black. In the current SVG specification there’s no way to set a background colour, so to work around that we’ll place a rectangle across the whole image.

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Gaia star data with D3 – part 1

TL;DR: I’m going to show you how to take a fairly large dataset – in this case the galactic stars – and make some nice visualizations with a JavaScript library called D3. They look great.

Basic view of data.

Did you see the recent news from the ESA Gaia mission? It will eventually give the precise position and motion of one billion stars in our Galaxy (which is actually “only” one percent of the stellar population!). An initial release of data happened on 13th September 2016 and included the position, motion and distance of two million stars.

I wanted to take this data and play around with it and I like to play around with data with the help of D3. This is a web based visualisation tool, which unfortunately is restricted by the capabilities of today’s browsers. This means I’ve had to reduce the data points, however, I suspect we can still get some nice results.

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